This weekend the talking circus, otherwise known as the Sixth International Conference of Tibet Support Groups, convenes at Surajkund, in the north Indian state of Haryana, to discuss various strategies and issues relating to Tibet. A curious assemblage of individuals, comprised virtually exclusively of automata-like supporters of the Tibetan Government in Exile’s surrender/autonomy ‘policy’.
The gathering was addressed November 5 by Samdhong Rinpoche,, that arch-betrayer of Tibetan nationhood, of note among his gross misrepresentation of the Tibetan people’s cause was the following treacherous assertion:
“Our basic demand as spelled out in the Memorandum is that all Tibetans should come under one administration that enjoys genuine autonomy. This demand is based on the rights given to the minorities as enshrined in the constitution and autonomy law of the PRC.” (Emphasis Added)
Such betrayal of the struggle for Tibet’s independence inside occupied Tibet was applauded by delegates, who claim to be supporting Tibet, when in reality their allegience is towards Buddhism and the position of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Hence their eager willingness to advocate and endorse the shameful capitulation, otherwise known as tjhe Memoranduim on Genuine Autonomy For Tibetans, which is the exiled Tibetan Administration’s core document to appease the communist Chinese regime.
So embedded is the conformity on parade at such meetings that few have the political or ethical integrity to express any dissent against the surrender being proposed, hardly a surprise when looking at the unfinished business of previous International Tibet Support Group Conferences, which permit little room for optimism. Determined action in solidarity with the Tibetan people’s struggle is certainly not on the agenda, instead delegates will be distracted by the opportunity to network and harmonise on such key issues as, how to promote autonomy and friendship with China. No doubt Tibetans inside Tibet will be crying with unrestrained appreciation for those efforts!
The cynicism and critique which International Tibet Support Group conferences attract is authored and justified by its troubling and hypocritical record on some central issues, namely Tibetan independence, and also its virtual silence on the subject of coercive birth-control inside Tibet. Let’s take a peek at one of its statements on the former issue. Ten years ago the International Tibet Support Groups conference in Berlin agreed through democratic process that:
“We endorse the proposal made by some members of the Parliament to urge His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile to seriously consider demanding full independence for Tibet, or the holding of an internationally supervised referendum on the issue if no progress has been made in negotiations with the government of the PRC on proposals for genuine autonomy for Tibet in the next three years. In that event we should fully support such a stand and should launch a major campaign for international recognition of Tibet’s claims” (Berlin Statement An Action Plan Third ITSG Conference Berlin May 14, 2000)
Editor’s Note: curiously a diluted and revised form of this statement subsequently replaced the statement quoted here. There was considerable controversy surrounding this matter (and a report which took over 17 months to be made available to delegates) which was at that time brought to the attention of the Dalai Lama in a letter from Independent Tibet Network
In the years that followed, which witnessed a complete lack of progress on negotiations for so-called genuine autonomy, including most recently Beijing’s forceful rejection of the TGIE’s treacherous ‘Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for Tibet’ has anyone noticed the International Tibet Support Groups honouring the agreed determination of its delegates, as formulated in that final conference statement? Did we witness a forceful and international campaign by those groups to press the TGIE to change its stance to support Tibetan independence? The predictable inaction which followed exposed the hollow words of such meetings revealed International Tibet Support Groups conferences, for all its pretentions to beeing seen as dynamic and organised, as little more than a talking-shop whose main function was to endorse whatever instruction received from the TGIE.
Certainly with its singular lack of support for Rangzen (Tibet’s Independence) and consistent refusal to either condemn or actively campaign against China’s coercive birth-control program that includes the forcible sterilization of Buddhist Tibetan and Moslem Uyghur women, this meeting cannot be truly said to be standing with the people of Tibet, nor supporting human rights, which by definition are not selective.